Labour today has the opportunity of a lifetime to extend our appeal to a much larger share of the electorate than ever before And we can do this without sacrificing our basic commitment to a fairer society. Indeed, to bring about this change we must convince people who have never before looked to Labour for help that we recognise that the interests of most people, including many in business and professions, have suffered because of the activities and disproportionate influence of the mega finance institutions and global speculators.
While many big corporations have large reserves, most small and medium enterprises do not. Disillusioned with what has been happening, few people in small and medium sized businesses feel any community of interest with banks or bankers. They no longer have a local bank manager who understands their businesses. Their requests for money to invest in their businesses are turned down by an algorithm at bank HQ. So instead of getting help, they see a discredited finance sector mis-selling ‘products’ to them and individuals, laundering drug money, breaking sanctions, rigging markets, overcharging for what services they do provide and overpaying themselves. While their businesses are paying VAT and national insurance, they see multinationals avoiding tax.
Some businesses find their prospects damaged by fluctuations in commodity prices caused in part by global speculators. Others are denied access to lucrative local contracts by the preference given to multinationals. They see the rich who don’t buy local goods and services getting tax cuts, while the take home pay for local people who make up local demand is held down or reduced. Very few people feel anything in common with the bankers. They don’t gain anything when public sector work is contracted out to multinationals like G4S. We must widen further our advocacy of the need for fairness, extending our definition of fairness to encompass the newly disillusioned and give them a fair crack of the whip. That way we can widen our appeal without alienating our loyal voters. Fair for all – not free for all.